By December 30, 200585 Comments Read More →

Transmission Slipping – Should You Change The Filter and Fluid?

Reader Question: My transmission is starting to slip, should I change the transmission filter?


Dear Alan,

The best answer to your question depends on the age and mileage of your vehicle.

Lower Mileage Cars

If it is a newer vehicle with less than 80,000 miles, I would recommend regular servicing of the transmission every 25,000 miles, including changing the fluid and internal filter. It is important that you maintain the transmission early on in the life of the vehicle, or you could set yourself up for real trouble if you change the transmission fluid later on (discussed below).

Regular servicing of the transmission can provide longer life expectancy, smoother shifting, and increased performance.

Some fast lube places service transmissions by “flushing” the transmission using a special machine that acts like a blood transfusion machine. It pumps out the transmission fluid, filters it, then recirculates it back into the transmission several times until the fluid is clean. I have mixed emotions about this procedure.

Yes, I will agree that with this machine it is possible to remove more of the old dirty fluid from inside the transmission than the conventional method of removing the transmission pan, draining the fluid and replacing the internal filter, but I feel very strongly that the internal filter should also be changed. Metal and plastic debris become lodged in the filter, and I have seen the filter itself break down and become compacted to the point that it restricts fluid flow.

If the fluid has become contaminated with water or some other foreign fluid, then I would recommend the flush method, but for regular maintenance I prefer the tried-and-true way of draining the old fluid and replacing the filter. If you have any doubt as to what method would be right for your vehicle, seek the advice of a qualified transmission shop.

I really feel the reason these fast lube places have adopted this flush method is because it lessons the chance of “mechanic error” while removing the transmission pan and filter, not necessarily because it is the best way to perform transmission maintenance.

Higher Mileage Cars

If your vehicle has high mileage (> 80,000 miles) and regular transmission servicing has been preformed as recommended, seek the advice of a qualified transmission shop if you experience a problem such as:

* Slipping
* Hard or erratic shifting
* Slow to shift when engine is cold (first thing in the morning)

If your vehicle has high mileage (> 80,000 miles) and the transmission has not been maintained, I would not recommend replacing the fluid and filter. The fluid that has been in the transmission all this time has become dirty and gritty. This gritty fluid is actually providing needed friction for the worn internal parts of the transmission.

Changing the fluid and replacing the filter would remove this friction that the internal transmission parts have become dependent on. If you have not been regularly maintaining the transmission throughout the life of the car, you might actually be doing more harm than good if you replace the transmission fluid at this point. For example, putting new clean slick transmission fluid in an older high mileage vehicle could cause the transmission to slip.

If you are not experiencing a problem, have over 80,000 miles on your car, and have not kept up regular maintenance on the transmission, my advice would be to leave the transmission fluid and filter alone. If you are experiencing a transmission problem like those listed above, seek the advice of a qualified transmission shop before allowing your regular mechanic to service the transmission.

I learned about this problem several years ago…the hard way. We had two cars in our shop with these “minor” transmission symptoms that I have listed above, and both of them had to be towed out to the transmission shop after servicing. The old fluid was gritty due to metal shavings caused by normal internal wear and tear on the transmission clutches and was acting like liquid sandpaper.

This “sandpaper” was producing the friction needed for the transmission to pull itself. When we changed the filter and replaced the old fluid with new fluid, the clutches inside the transmission had nothing to grab on to. Sometimes even the best of us learn lessons the hard (and expensive) way.

Austin Davis

85 Comments on "Transmission Slipping – Should You Change The Filter and Fluid?"

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  1. Jesse says:

    I have a chevy Equinox 2005. Transmission will slip after a few min. going down the road. No forward or reverse. Stopped and turned off engine. Restarted and same thing happened. A friend had it towed to a repair shop and they found oil in the radiator. He paid for a new radiator (since I didn’t have the money). Now it did it again. They changed out the screen and it does the same thing. Im out of town right now so I don’t know what to say but it sounds like the repair shop was doing a con job on my friend since the car still doesn’t run right. What could be the cause of my transmission problem?

    • Austin Davis says:


      I would take it to a real transmission shop and have them run some diagnostic tests on it, sounds more like excessive internal transmission wear than anything else and might require an overhaul or rebuild.

  2. alags says:

    i just bought a 1992 honda accord with 89XXX miles on it. a day later i noticed it had begun hard shifting. i checked the transmission fluid on it and it was filled three times the norm. we had taken some out and filled it to appropriate levels and had also added lucusoil but it was still hard shifting. just the other day it would not shift pass second gear. i rested the car for a day and it was back to normal just hard shifting through all gears. i taken it to a mechanic and he said he found metal debris when he removed the plugged. i know that my tranny is going out with the evidence given. but my man question is how long do i have and should i have have another tranny rebuilt or rebuild the one i already have. it is about 1000 dollars less if they just rebuild my current tranny and is this a good idea to use the one i already have or just purchase a newly rebuilt one? and what’s the difference? i would really appreciate your advice. thank you

    • By Austin Davis says:

      This might be one of those rare occasions where I am going to recommend flushing the transmission fluid at a local fast lube place. Usually I would never suggest that when there is slipping type of complaints with transmissions, but since it’s a Honda with low mileage (not really known for transmission problems) I think I would take a gamble and try it.

      There could be debris (like metal shavings) lodged in the valve body inside the transmission causing the problem. Having the fluid flushed out, with a flushing machine not just draining, might remove those shavings and allow the transmission to shift properly.

      Now, if that does not help, then yes….a rebuild of your transmission or installing a rebuilt transmission might be the real answer. I would assume finding a transmission already rebuilt might be a little cheaper, not really a $1000 cheaper, but probably some. But, that is a 20 year old vehicle so not sure you are going to find many of those transmissions just laying around so overhauling yours might be a better option…either way is fine.

  3. Floyd says:

    I have a 96 Jetta GLS with auto transmission. It does not appear to be slipping and drives fine. However it will all of a sudden lock up. I can mess with the drive selector or shut off the car and start it again and go for a bit and then the same thing all over. I loaded it on a trailer with no problems, no slipping of the transmission and brought it home and unloaded it no problem. I need you advice on how to proceed next and if I should be looking for a transmission. I bought the car recently and the person told me it had done it to them a few times, they were good at servicing the engine, but I do not think the tranny has been serviced.


    • By Austin Davis says:

      I am not that familiar with the internal workings of the Jetta transmission, but I would assume it has a “lock up converter” solenoid inside like most transmissions do. When the vehicle gets to about 35MPH the solenoid inside the transmission will engage the torque converter and lock it into place to help improve fuel mileage.

      Does your issue happen when you are driving faster than 35 MHp or close to that speed? Since you said you can wiggle the gear shift and shut off the vehicle and things return to normal, which would reset the lock up solenoid would give me reason to suspect a problem with it.

      Most GM cars, the lock up solenoids can be replaced fairly easily without having to overhaul the transmission. I would visit a local transmission shop and get their opinion first before I did anything. I would not recommend servicing the fluid in this vehicle at this time without a transmission shop approval. For one, I don’t think it will help the issue, for 2, I think it COULD make things much worse and cause a slipping problem.

  4. Chris says:

    I just acquired a 243K mile 96 GMC Yukon 4×4. The engine seems stout but it won’t engage the reverse gear. 1st and 2nd seem to slip a little, but they do get there. I went to check the fluid and the locking dipstick wasn’t locked nor would it. The fluid also was a little low but I’m not sure if I let it warm enough. Could this slack dipstick and/or the low level of fluid be the culprit? Or do I need to just take it to the shop?

    Thx in advance!

    • Austin says:

      Well, at that mileage, age and symptoms you are describing I can only assume the transmission is toast and needs to be overhauled. I would check and top off the transmission fluid level first obviously before I did anything major here. Reverse gear is usually the first gear to show signs of internal wear….slow to engage, then slips once it does. Seems to be a little better when the engine and transmission fluid are warmed up than first thing in the morning when the engine and fluid are cold.

      I would visit your local transmission shop and get their opinions, but honestly if you take this transmission out for “inspection” you better count on overhauling it completely. This is a big job being a 4×4 and there really is nothing external that can be done. I dont think changing the fluid or filter would help either, but ask the transmission shop for their opinion, you might make things worse by doing so…and spending money needlessly.

      A used transmission from a junk yard that offers a warranty might be an alternative to overhauling this one? Worth a few phone calls to see what your options are.

  5. tekia says:

    hi, i have a 1997 escort with 145,00 miles and my problem is that when im driving and when i hit 45-50 my car starts to do a jerking. it only does it in drive 1( i know because i teseted it n drive 2 and no jerking)oh and it only happenes sometimes.

    • Austin says:

      Yes, it could be a transmission issue and you should check the fluid level first. BUT it could also be a bad spark plug wire causing an engine miss. if the spark plug wires are older than 60,000 miles I would replace them as a guess (and part of maintenance) first and see what happens. The more strain is placed on the engine the harder the spark plug wires have to work.

      3rd gear at 45 miles an hour is like riding a 10 speed bike at 10 mph but in 10th gear, you really have to work at it to keep the bike moving. If the plug wires (and you should replace distributor cap/rotor if you have them and spark plugs….a full tune up) and you still have the issue, have a transmission shop drive it with you, you might have a solenoid problem in the transmission called a lock up solenoid. I am not a transmission mechanic so that is all I know.

  6. lh says:

    this advice to avoid servicing transmission on high mileage vehicles is bogus. sure, if the transmission is going out servicing it may not save it, but people should be servicing the transmission (pan drop and filter replacement) every 30,000 miles. you are giving bad advice when you write, “…don’t service high mileage transmissions…”

    • Austin says:

      Say what you like, but I have had the unfortunate experience of telling my customer their car won’t drive out of the shop after a transmission service, even when it drove in just fine. If you have not kept up with regularlly scheduled services and you have high mileage, it’s a huge risk to take. Somethings are better left alone if you are not experiencing a problem. I wouldn’t advise my grandmother to start jogging at 90 years of age if she had not been jogging on a regular schedule before hand 🙂

  7. Tex jc says:

    I jusr bought a 2001 vw jetta vr6 with 130xxx miles on it and put 4xxx on it…recently the reverse has gone sluggish, works some times no problem…but others i find myself pushing the gas pedal down and revving up to 3000 RPMS before im CRAWLING backwards…im not to sure of the level or care on the car before i bought it…im 4 months in on a $5000 loan…please some advice. Its a 2001 vw jetta vr6 GLX, automatic

    • Austin says:

      If the transmission fluid level is full, then I can only assume you have an internal transmission problem that will probably require an overhaul. I would visit your local transmission shop and talk to them, I don’t think I would change the fluid just because it might make things worse.

  8. marcedes says:

    Our car won’t go…some “self proclaimed” mechanics are saying that it’s the whole transmisson, and i fear the Ford dealership wants me to just pay the 2096 dollars without making sure its not something i can fix on my own first. The gears won’t work…When i start the car, i’ll switch into a gear and it’ll start making a churning or buzzing sound…like “uerrrrrrr-errrrrr” everytime i press on the gas…We are getting a new car tomorrow, but my daughter wanted this car for christmas, before it started messing up..First it was just slipping and the person i had look at it, supposedly fixed it, but then it broke down right in front of my driveway…I had some men push it in, and it’s been sitting there for about a month now…I want to know if it’s anything i can try first before just giving up on this car…The gasket, the s- somehting pack? Anything that’ll allow me to fix this car…It was used when i bought it, but it doesn’t have too many miles on it. Please let me know what to try…Anything works. Remember, it won’t drive when i switch gears, it just makes a buzzing sound.

    • Austin says:

      If the transmission is full of fluid, then something internal has failed and the transmission will likely need to come out of the vehicle, be torn down for inspection before an actual estimate can be given as to price and what exactly has failed. When you do this you better be prepared to completely rebuild this transmission….which is why they are telling you to expect to pay $2, 000. Depending on the vehicle model and year, you might be able to buy a remanufactured transmission from Ford and have your local mechanic install it for you, be cheaper than paying Ford mechanic and you still get same warranty from Ford.

  9. Ronald says:

    I have a 3.6L Cadillac CTS-2005 w/ 124.000 mi. It seems that there is tranny slippage (auto) downshifting from 2 to 1 and a bit of hard shifting from 1 to 2. It happens intermittently, but last week i had a new radiator put in and it is shifting harder. What are some possible diagnoses?

    • Austin says:

      First thing I would do is check the transmission fluid level and top off as needed, hopefully its just a little low on fluid. I would not recommend running out and changing the fluid or filter inside the transmission unless you get a local transmission shop to drive the vehicle with you and give you their opinions.

  10. Rebecca says:

    I have a 96 Toyota Paseo, automatic, with over 200,000 mi. A while back, I hit a curb, and immediately started losing trans.fluid. It took me a few months of frequently topping off the fluid before I had it looked at (but I quit driving it as much during that time.) They fixed the leak by replacing some bolts? or something, I think on the pan?, under the front end of the car(where I’d hit the curb.) I went out of town about that time, and someone else drove it while I was gone. So I’m not sure how it was running during that time. I do know that right before I got back, they changed out the fluid. Now I’m driving it again, and it’s definitely got a problem. Slow to shift, RPM’s go way up til it “catches up”, real sluggish and uneven acceleration getting going, sometimes even have to downshift or click the o/d button to get it moving above a crawl, sometimes revs up high seemingly for no reason… After reading what you said about it being a bad idea to change the fluid in high mileage cars, especially if they haven’t been well-maintained (which is how I’d describe my car), I suspect this is the problem. So my question is, what if you already did it? Is there anything to do after the fact to help it? Seems like if the problem is that the new fluid is too slick, isn’t there anything I can add to it now to give it some “friction”? And would you expect this to get better or worse with time? Will it act like this while the fluid is still new, and then get better as it gets older? Or is this damaging the transmission driving it like it is? Thanks for any help!

    • Austin says:

      Check and make sure the transmission fluid is still full, if it is….there is no help and you will need to overhaul this transmission or get a new rebuilt one………or take a gamble on a used one from a junk yard and have your local mechanic install it for you. 200K is pretty darn good, so you got your money’s worth. Driving around with it leaking fluid probably was not healthy for it, especially being kinda old and worn to begin with.

  11. Mike says:

    Hello! My concern is very similar to the guy above me but it doesn’t quite “lunge.” At 60-70 (I don’t go faster really) cruising, my car (1990 Cadillac Eldorado with 209k miles) will sort of jump about 200 rpm’s every now and then (maybe every 20 seconds or so)and then immediately goes back down to where it was. I live in Phoenix so the roads are straight and flat. Every gear seems normal except this overdrive. I don’t have the option for drive, just 1, 2, 3, and OD.

    I actually have an appointment for a flush on Friday but after reading this article, I’m not sure that’s the best idea.

    • Austin says:

      I think flushing would be a bad idea and probably make things MUCH worse, if the car even will move at all afterwards (happened to a vehicle in my shop 🙁
      Just due to your high mileage, I am pretty leery of the need for an overhaul, those vehicles just don’t seem to hold up like the newer versions or a Toyota, Honda etc. etc. EVEN a 1990 Toyota Camry with 209K miles….I would kinda expect to have to overhaul the transmission. You probably need the OD clutch replaced, but everything else inside will be the same age and condition and will also need to be replaced once your transmission is opened.

      Now, if you just want to try something and cross your fingers, I would recommend a bottle of this additive which I have used with good luck in the past, although NOTHING is going to cure the need for new parts inside your transmission other than an overhaul. Overhauling this transmission will be expensive, and honestly I would not sink that kind of money into this vehicle just do to age and mileage and the probability of other major repairs due to age and mileage.

  12. John says:

    I have a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee. When I get to between 50 to 55 mph, (especially if I am going up a hill, on the interstate), the car starts to lunge and the tach jumps revs up and down, over and over, etc. Even when I get to a straight stretch, once this starts, it doesn’t stop. I have brought it to numerous mechanics, along with the Jeep dealer, and nobody knows why it does that. They have put it on the computer, but there are no codes that show up. Do you have any ideas? I am getting desperate. Thank you for any help you can give me.

    • Austin says:

      these types of problems are HARD to diagnose and repair….as you are finding out. I would start by ruling out as many things as you can. If you were at my shop I would.

      1. Try driving in drive, NOT overdrive, if you have the option to do so. If the problem does not show up in drive I would be suspect of a transmission issue. Relay, or solenoid failure for overdrive gear
      2. I would make sure you are not experiencing an engine miss like due to a bad spark plug wire. Plug wires tend to breakdown and cause problems when they are stressed…like going up hills or towing. If you have more than 60K miles on your spark plugs and wires I would change them out.
      3. Look for anything else that is happening, do headlights dim down, gauges act erratic, is engine running hot, is there smoke coming out the tailpipe etc.

  13. TONY says:

    i have an 06 ford expedition with 92k on it. i have flushed the trans oil at 50k, and was getting ready to do a trans filter replacement and trans oil flush. is this advisable being i flushed the system at 50k.

  14. Filip says:

    Thanks for the advice 🙂

  15. Filip says:

    Hello i have ford taurus 99 it has a 144k on it i have no idea how the previous owner take care of the car, recently the tranny start to kick if i switch from p to d, and i was wondering if i change the transmission fluid. What is your opinion on that case, should i take a new one? or not

    • Austin says:

      I would definitely check the transmission fluid level and top off as needed. it could just be low on fluid. If the fluid is full, I would visit your local transmission shop and get them to take a test drive with you and experience the issue and get their opinion. You will be taking a risk, if you change the fluid and filter with this mileage and not knowing the maintenance history.

  16. fred pupo says:

    I have a taurus 2006 with 120,000 miles is been cared for extremely well, 23,000 miles ago the tran s fluid and filter was changed but no flush, it runs perfect should I flush it next time?

  17. Kevin stanfield says:

    I have a used car that over 200,000 miles I got it when it was 180,000 the transmission guild is really dark my friend who works on car told memto take a qourt of fluid out and put a qourt back in so that way it slowly cleans the transmission is this a good idea?

    • Austin says:

      Well, that will work…BUT any NEW SLICK transmission fluid inside an older worn transmission could cause slipping since you are taking out the gritty sand paper like fluid which is probably helping to give the internal clutches enough friction to not slip. I would probably leave things alone and just drive the vehicle until things blow up on their own. No sense speeding up the process. 🙂

  18. John chen says:

    hi i have a 93 ford explorer with 290k miles. its like my transmission dont want to shift until i let go the pedal and slowly press it. then it will shift. other than that if i do relase the pedal it just goes up into high rev.

    should i flush my tranny ? check my timing belts? email me back ! thanks

    • admin says:

      Check your transmission fluid level first, low fluid can cause this.

      You will need to seek a transmission mechanic, I am not one. BUT I would bet a lot of shiny pennies that you need a new transmission or overhaul this one. Personally I would call the Ford parts department of a FEW dealerships and get the price of a Ford rebuilt transmissions, I bet you could negotiate lower prices with each phone call. Then call your local general mechanic and get a price on installation of this new transmission. The transmission from Ford is ready to bolt up….even has the transmission fluid already installed. AND you get a Ford national warranty for not a whole bunch more money than a local transmission shop that may or may not give you as good a quality repair and not near the warranty. this has nothing to do with timing belts…and you do not have one anyway. 🙂

  19. Kenny says:

    ive got a 1996 ford thunderbird and its got a 4.6 in it. the guy i bought it from said he had the engine and trans replaced around 130k miles, and the car currently has 164k miles. Now, the problem is, it tends to slip from first to second and second to third. guy i bought it from said it needs a new transmission filter, but idk surely what i need to do. Im planning on calling around to see what i can get done with it. any help appreciated.

    • admin says:

      I am not a transmission mechanic, but I would bet changing the filter will either do nothing or make things worse. Check the fluid level first, low fluid can cause this symptom. if the fluid is full, consult a transmission mechanic and have them take a test drive with you and give you a worst case scenario for an overhaul. I would also call Ford and get a price on their rebuilt transmission if they still offer one, then get your local mechanic to install it for you. You will get a nationwide Ford warranty this way and might only cost a few bucks more. No offense, but a transmission will cost more than this vehicle is worth……so be prepared for the worst.

      You might want to take a chance with a used junk yard transmission and sometimes you can buy an extended warranty from the junk yard. MIGHT be worth a gamble, although you are still buying a used 14 year old transmission that has been sitting up for God knows how long.

  20. Kaitlyn says:

    I have a 2002 Ford Taurus with about 94K miles on it. Its transmission fluid is brownish red and clear, not dirty and full of grit that either myself or my fiance can see. My family dealership recommended a transmission flush around 85K miles, but I haven’t had the money to get it done. I need to take it on a thousand-mile road trip next month, and I am wondering if it actually needs to be flushed or not. I don’t want to take the chance of ruining my transmission, but it like a damned if I do, damned if I don’t kind of thing…

    It has been flushed previously at around 30 thousand miles, but not since then that service records indicate. (I bought it around 74K.) The transmission is not acting up in any way, no slipping, slow shifting, or “boom” (threw that in for Nina, haha). If I shouldn’t get it flushed, what should I do, if anything, to service the transmission before the trip? Every mechanic I talk to has a different answer. Thank you so so much.

    • admin says:

      Ya, great question, thanks for your comment. This is a tricky spot for me to be in, if I tell you to flush it and the transmission craters next week… will hunt me down. 🙁 If I tell you to let it go and do nothing….and it craters next week….well, you get my point.

      I am a little scared that its a Taurus….Fords “Best Selling” vehicle….but not very good maintenance wise, especially on transmissions and air conditioners. If it was me would I do it……ya, I would. You will be taking a chance BUT since you said there are no signs of wear or slipping I think you would probably be making a wise decision and hopefully extend the life of this transmission. Do the flush NOW, so you can put a few miles on it before you go on your 1,000 mile journey.

      Just for grins, add a can of WYNN’S transmission conditioner additive, or a LUCAS transmission additive both of which are great and can be purchased at most auto parts stores. I have used Wynns products for years.

      Got my fingers crossed. 🙂

  21. Donald says:

    Admin, I have a 99 Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 5.9L. About a month ago, when I started the truck, it sounded like the lifters or something internal in the enging started hammering but stopped just as soon as the engine returned to idle. It has kept doing it ever since and now does it whenever I need to pass someone and the RPM’s jump. And when I stop, the oil pressure gauge drops to zero and a little buzzer goes off, but then returns to normal when I take off. Also, the tranny started to “slip?” when I try to hold a constant speed. The RPM’s will jump and sometimes it will change gears completely, like it thinks I’m going uphill even though I’m not. One time I was only going about 40 when it revved way up and it seemed like the truck was in neutral, when I let off the gas the rpm’s dropped but it wouldn’t pull when I gassed it again. I shut the truck off, checked the fluid, not burned smelling or dark, and it’s level is fine. 3 different tranny shops have told me 3 different things. Can you offer an idea? Thanks for your time.

    • admin says:

      Sounds like you have two separate problems here, low oil pressure and internal transmission wear. On the engine noise issue I would make sure the engine oil is clean and full and add a can of Marvel Mystery Oil which is available at all auto parts store. See if that helps with the noise, although….it kinda sounds like you have a lack of oil pressure issue and I would have a mechanic place a manual oil pressure gauge on the engine to determine if the oil pump is working properly or is restricted in some way. The oil additive works great for upper engine clattering noises but if there is no oil getting to the top of the engine (and from what you tell me it’s not) then we have to correct the main issue…..lack of oil pressure. You might just need to replace the oil pump and the screen…..keep driving it with this hammering noise and you will need a new motor. 🙂

      The transmission issue…..sorry to say but sound like internal wear problems to me and will most likely require a tear down to determine the exact culprit, but any rate you will end up overhauling this transmission once its torn down and on the ground. So be prepared, you are looking at two large ticket items here. I hope you are in love with this vehicle. BTW I am not a transmission mechanic, but there is almost nothing that can be done to a transmission as far as investigation and repairs until its removed from the vehicle. Once its removed and in pieces….you are stuck.

  22. Robert says:

    i have a 2006 pontiac grand prix that i had bought used with 35,000 miles on it, at around 50,000 miles i had took it in to get the transmission fluid replaced and filter also. it now has 70,000 miles on it and started to slip after 1st gear, also it jerks real hard coming off stops, like when in heavy traffic i stop real quick and step on the gas and it will jerk real hard like my transmission is going to drop or something, it is really making me mad and i dont know what to do.

    • admin says:

      This can be caused by low transmission fluid, so check that first. You MIGHT be ok with servicing this transmission fluid and filter although any mention of “slipping” scares me and you take a big chance that the problem gets worse. Since you mentioned jerking I am hoping this is just due to low fluid. if the fluid is full DO NOTHING until you have a local transmission mechanic test drive this with you and advise on what to do next. There is not much anyone can do without removing the transmission or at least the transmission pan….so be prepared for the worst case scenario cost wise before you agree to a tear down.

  23. Tanner says:

    Yeah I was thinking it was just the tranny getting old, hopefully it lasts long enough for me to find a standard tranny.

    Thanks 🙂

  24. Tanner says:

    Hey, i have a 1977 Ford Mustang 2, and in the mornings my drive/reverse in my automatic transmission doesnt kick in, but if I push the accelerator to get the rpms up to about 3,000RPM, the gear will kick in, then will kick out a bit later on then I just rev it up again and it kicks in. Once I drive around for a good few minutes, it doesn’t slip like that at all.

    Any ideas whats causing it and how I cna help preserve its life prior to purchasing a standard tranny for it.

    • admin says:

      If the transmission is full of fluid that is about all you can really do without removing the pan or the transmission and taking things apart inside. I am not a transmission mechanic, but I am pretty sure you are going to need an overhaul. You might just need to replace the front pump to solve this problem, but if the pump is worn out everything else inside will be in the same condition and will fail soon as well. Paying a few $100 bucks just to replace the pump and doing nothing else is not a wise decision because I would bet the remainder of the transmission parts to fail soon after.

  25. Suzanne says:

    I have a 2007 Honda CRV with 73,000 miles on it. When I had the oil changed at 47,000 miles I was told I needed to have the transmission flushed because the fluid was dirty. I did not do this. I have not had any problems with my car shifting and haven’t heard any odd noises coming from my car. Have I let this go for too long and would be better off not doing anything to my transmission, or should I have it flushed at my next oil change this week.

    • admin says:

      I would recommend the transmission flush at this mileage interval and on this vehicle as part of regular maintenance.

  26. Jerry says:

    I have a 2003 chevy trailblazer with 166,000 miles on it. When I started it up the other day the car sounded much louder when taking off. The car shifts perfectly, and does not slip or anything, just the loud noise like the transmission is straining. I have had this car since 2003, and I know what it is suspossed to sound like. After driving awhile it sounds normal, but when I stop it starts over again. I took it to the shop and the mechanic changed the fluid and filter. It continues to sound loud when taking off. I had my friend who used to be a service manager ride with me and he said that it was a “high Poi” noise in first gear and reverse. What is high poi? Does this mean the transmission is going out, and can it be repaired.

    • admin says:

      I would really need to listen to it to be sure what is happening. I have seen/heard transmissions make a loud whinning kind of noise from a faulty torque converter inside the transmission but that is an expensive guess. 🙂 Can you get a transmission shop to take a test drive with you? I would rule out the engine as the culprit first, maybe even remove the fan belt to make sure the accessories like the alternator or a/c compressor are not causing the noise. You can get in a deserted parking lot and produce the noise, then turn the ignition key back one position to turn off the engine BUT not far enough back to lock the steering wheel. This will shut down the engine and the transmission, so if the noise is still present….you have issues elsewhere like the rear end or the brakes etc. etc.

  27. Alina says:

    Thank you for all the advice. It’s very much appreciated. I will definitely push them harder.

  28. Alina says:

    I got the truck towed to my apartment. I called them right away and the manager came out to my apartment to check it out. He filed an incident report and said that I had to get it towed to an aamco to get it checked to determine whether it was caused by something they did. The manager said if it was because of something they did they will reimburse us for the cost of the repairs. I don’t know anything about transmissions so I’m just trying to find out what could of caused it to fail and what could of caused it to go out so quickly. What if they used the wrong fluid? Is there a way to check for that as well? I’m going to have it towed to aamco on friday but can’t anytime sooner until I can be able to shell out 100 bucks for towing back and forth. I’m nine months pregnant so our income really sucks. Isn’t there a way to have them pay for it if it’s proven that it’s Jiffy Lube’s fault? Without having to pay for it and wait for reimbursement.

    • admin says:

      I would push them a little harder on this issue if you did not have a problem prior to their transmission service. It is common knowledge in the industry that there is an inherent risk in changing transmission fluid on higher mileage vehicles that have not had regular scheduled servicing. We have replaced many engines that Jiffy Lube failed to put oil in after an oil change. Jiffy lube paid the entire claim and the towing upfront and no costs were incurred by the customer. AAMCO is a large company and I would call them directly at their headquarters and get them to tow and inspect this free of charge. There is really NO WAY they are going to be able to tell how the damage occured unless there is a LOT of extra fluid in the transmission which would be an obvious sign of overfilling on their part.

  29. Alina says:

    I have a 2004 Chevy Silverado. My truck was due for an oil change so I took it to Jiffy Lube. They said I needed a tranmission fluid flush. I drove it home and the next morning it was running fine then all of a sudden it wouldn’t go when I stepped on the gas. As if I had put it in neutral. I pulled over with the little power I had and couldn’t get it moving. I tried restarting it and it would change from park to drive and move a little but then go out again. When I tried going into reverse/drive again it wouldn’t switch. I couldn’t feel the regular thing it does when I change it. I’m a woman so I don’t know how else to explain it. I do know how a tranny feels when it’s slipping and it hadn’t been slipping before I took it in. The truck has 91,000 miles. my sister in law looked under the truck and noticed that my oil filter hadn’t been changed either. & that there was too much transmission fluid. Will there be a way to prove they did it? and if so what could they have done? thanks =] my husband is in Iraq so I’m alone with this problem. Anything will help..

    • admin says:

      I would call the lube place ASAP and have them send a tow truck to pick it up. Tell them what happened and that you are certain this is there fault. They are pretty well used to getting these types of issues with the caliber of mechanics working at these places. they could have overfilled the transmission and burnt it up internally.?

  30. Nina says:

    Oh, and I took the car to a transmission shop in February. The starter went out. The car wouldn’t start or I would have taken it somewhere else. They repaired that, but I have had this slipping and boom (!) on shifting ever since. They said they didn’t do anything to the transmission, but I am wondering how it would go from shifting fine when I took it in there, to this problem the day it was returned to me.

    • admin says:

      Do not change the transmission fluid or filter, you will probably just cause more slipping to occur. I would first make sure the transmission is full of fluid, so have a mechanic or fast lube place check the transmission fluid level and top off as needed. Low transmission fluid, due to a leak somewhere, can cause problems like this. If the fluid is full, I am afraid you have an internal transmission problem and there is not much that can be done without removing the transmission from the vehicle for inspection. Once removed, an overhaul is probably in order, so be prepared to spend $1800+-

      I am not sure how the starter replacement caused this slippage problem unless they caused a transmission fluid leak somehow…..but doubtful.

  31. Nina says:

    I am confused after reading all of these posts. I bought a used 1993 Ford Taurus in 2001. It had 79,000 mi. on it. I changed the transmission filter at that time. Now I am having slipping issues. When I put the car in gear it hesitates then there is a boom! (I’m a girl) I don’t know if I should change the filter or not. It has 140,000 mi. on it now. I am trying to keep the car running for another 6 mo. or so.

  32. bruce says:

    I have a pt cruiser and the pump went out.I dropped the pan and their was only normal ware.would it be ok to change just the pump

    • admin says:

      If you did not have a slipping complaint prior to the pump failure, you will probably be ok with just the pump replacement.

  33. micheline says:

    Hi, I have a 98 Ford Windstar with 133k miles…when I go above about 50mph there’s lots of erratic shift changes, could it be a filter/fluid problem or is it something bigger? And if you know, is it something I should have fixed immediately?

    • admin says:

      I am not a transmission mechanic but you probably have Internal shift solenoid problem and should let a transmission mechanic test drive with you. Be warned, this repair could turn into a total transmission overhaul

  34. shanika says:

    oh and by the ways its a 2003 if that makes a difference

  35. shanika says:

    I have a toyota corolla 160,038miles and nothing wrong with it i bought it from my cousin like a month ago and i was wondering what should i do to maintain its life?

    • admin says:

      I have some pretty easy to follow generic maintenance suggestions on my other website which I would suggest you take a look at and use in conjunction with your owners manual recommendations. That car will go another 160K miles with no problems if you adhere to a good maintenance schedule and get regular oil changes and timing belt changes about every 60K miles or so.

  36. urb0123 says:

    One of the reasons for the flush is that just draining a transmission only removes about 1/3 of the fluid depending on the transmission model. Whether flushing is of real benefit or not I don’t know.

    • admin says:

      That is true, you will not get all the fluid out of the system with a regular transmission pan removal and filter replacement. Some fluid will remain inside the torque converter….which is ok, you at least replaced the filter and the majority of the fluid. Flushing the transmission at a quick lube place will remove more of the old fluid but they usually do not drop the transmission pan and replace the filter. I am pretty old school and prefer to drop the transmission pan and replace the filter (some cars dont have a replaceable filter but use a metal screen which is cleaned and reused) but if the transmission was underwater like in a flood situation flushing would be a better option to remove the water from the fluid.

      There is less risk that an entry level mechanic working at a fast lube place will screw something up using a flushing machine than the old way of removing the transmission pan and stripping a bolt or causing a leak.

  37. James says:

    I have a 92 Dodge Dakota with 102,000 miles. It has not been serviced regularly. The transmission fluid is redish and doesn’t look dirty. The truck is slow to shift for the first block or two when it starts. After that it seems to shift fine. Is this something that can be remidied (or made worse) with a fluid change or is it indicative of a larger problem?

    • admin says:

      You ALWAYS take a chance in flushing the transmission fluid or replacing the filter BUT there is really nothing else you can do to “try” and solve the problem other than removing the transmission for internal inspection. So if you are a betting person…take a chance and replace the filter and fluid and cross your fingers. If you had a “slipping” issue I would not recommend changing the filter at this stage in the game.

  38. randy says:

    2001 Honda Accord, Automatic 4 cylinder, transmission seems to slip while shifting from 1st to 2nd gear and kicks in a little harsh. fluid level is ok and condition is not too bad, has not been changed since Ive owned it(3yrs ago) what is most likely causing this?

    • admin says:

      I am not a transmission mechanic but this is probably an internal wear issue and will require a transmission mechanic and most likely removing the transmission for inspection. You might want to try an over the counter transmission fluid additive which helps prevent slipping and see if that helps at all. WYNNS makes a good product and so does Slick 50 both should be available at your local auto parts store. It can’t hurt anyway.

  39. av6 says:

    Hello,admin.I have an automatic 2000 accord v6.This model car has a failure rate of 50% for the transmission.The mileage on the vehicle is 107,000 miles.It shifts without problems on the road/highway,sometimes just a slight jerk when gear is put in drive or reverse.Should I drain and refill with Honda atf Z-1,drive 1000 miles,drain and refill,drive 1000 miles,and drain and refill again?Or just leave the transmission fluid alone?


    • admin says:

      Im going to let YOU decide this one. You are going to take a chance changing the fluid….but i have done so in my shop at the customer request and everything was fine, so you make the call. I dont see a reason to drive 1000 miles and flush though, just flush and be done with it.

  40. dana says:

    @ admin, i have a 2004 jaguar x-type, car jerks really bad when put into reverse. Was told it could be a gear box issue. I never had any previous transmission problems before. This just happened out of no where.

    • admin says:

      It could be worn or broken engine or transmission mounts causing a roughness or jerky feeling or vibration. You really need to see a trained Jaguar mechanic for this. I would not trust your average mechanic to diagnose this problem on this car, it will just cost you more money in the long run.

  41. Kara says:

    I have an 06 Honda Accord. The past two times Ive gone in for an oil change I’ve been told I need to flush my transmission because the fluid that is now a darker pink is supposed to be a bright pink. My dad and boyfriend have both said they’ve never had the transmission flushed on one of their vehicles and to not do it. I’m torn because I want to preserve the life of my car for as long as possible but fear that I will experiences transmission issues after flushing it. Any suggestions? My car has about 67k miles on it.

    • admin says:

      You SHOULD change the transmission fluid about every 50,000-60,000 miles as part of general maintenance. I don’t think you will have a problem, its the high mileage (more than 125,000 miles) vehicles that take a chance of future problems.

  42. Tom says:

    I flushed the transmission on my 96 jeep GC that had 295k miles on it and the last flush was at about 100k. It worked great before the flush, and just fine afterward. So it’s not always the case that old fluid should stay in a high mileage car.

  43. LaMont Williams says:

    I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix Gt with 203k mies, and was experiencing hard first gear slipping. I bought the car at 124k miles and never changed the transmission fluid. I recently replaced the filter and put new fluid in, but now the transmission slips when the engine is cold. Do I need another transmission?

    • admin says:

      More than likely YES and overhaul of your current transmission or a rebuilt unit is probably what you will be looking at with those symptoms and that high mileage.

  44. Claire says:

    I have a 2000 Chevy Impala. I am experiencing some shuttering when I accelerate from a complete stop. It only has 26,000 miles on it, so would just changing the filter and oil do the trick?

    • admin says:

      Umm, I would suspect a spark plug and or spark plug wire and you are having an engine missfire problem. Of course, you could have a transmission issue….but with that low mileage I would rule out an engine miss from a worn out spark plug wire first.

  45. james says:

    ford explorer 2003 102.000 miles, shift great never had fluid or filter changed, notice a little shutter at last shift was told by a transmission person that they could change the oil and filter and add some type of additive that will loosen the converter rivet that cause the shutter, is this correct

    • admin says:

      You can try to change the fluid and filter….but be warned, you COULD make the problem worse. The transmissions are very weak on the Explorer, otherwise great vehicle! We use WYNN’S transmission fluid additives in my shop and you can buy them at your local parts store.

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